A scratching post is a wooden post covered in
softer material that cat
owners provide so their pets have an acceptable place to scratch. Cats have a
natural urge to scratch: the action helps them remove old material from their
claws, and they
mark territory with scent glands in their paws. Indoor cats may be prevented
from exercising this urge on furniture if they are provided with an acceptable
The most common type of post consists of a wooden post, roughly 60 - 90
cm (24-36 inches) tall, covered in rough fabric or sisal. The post is mounted
vertically in a wide base, which allows the cat to stretch upward on its rear
legs and scratch freely without tipping it over. Surfaces vary: the post may be
covered in sisal rope, upholstery fabric, or the jute backing of a piece of
Many pet owners find they have to experiment with different surfaces to find one
that their cats will scratch reliably. Other kinds of scratching posts are more
elaborate, with several levels of horizontal platforms for climbing and cozy
cave-like areas where cats may hide. Very tall ones are often called "cat
trees." These may have a vertical tension rod that extends to the ceiling to
provide extra stability.
Smaller scratching surfaces may consist of something as simple as a piece of
carpet turned upside down, or a flat pad of woven sisal with a loop to allow it
to hang from a doorknob. Others are made from corrugated cardboard.
Scratching posts may be purchased at most stores that carry pet supplies, but
many people build their own.